Appeal by Mumbai gunman : Indian Supreme Court to rule on death sentence
New Delhi (CNN) — The Indian Supreme Court is expected to deliver its verdict Wednesday on an appeal by the only surviving gunman from the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai against his death sentence.
A court sentenced Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani, to death in 2010 on charges of murder, conspiracy and waging war on India. The High Court of Mumbai upheld his conviction and sentence in February last year.
Authorities of the Mumbai prison where Kasab is being held then filed a plea on his behalf to the Supreme Court.
Convicts on death row in India have the right to challenge their sentence in the nation’s highest court. They can also file a mercy petition with the president if the Supreme Court rejects their appeal.
During the November 2008 assault on Mumbai, 10 heavily armed men attacked landmarks around the city, including the luxury Taj Mahal Palace and Tower and Oberoi-Trident hotels, the Victoria Terminus train station, and the Jewish cultural center, Chabad House.
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More than 160 people were killed in the coordinated attacks that lasted three days.
Indian forces killed nine of the suspects, but Kasab, who was photographed holding an assault weapon during the violence, survived and was arrested.
India blamed the siege on Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, a Pakistani-based terror group allied with al Qaeda.
Indian authorities said Kasab was trained by the organization, which was banned in Pakistan in 2002 after an attack on the Indian parliament. The group has denied responsibility.
The Mumbai attacks destabilized peace talks between the Indian and Pakistani governments, which remain bitterly opposed over issues like the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.
In the subsequent years, the two nuclear-armed nations have resumed the high-level meetings and relations have improved.
In April, President Asif Ali Zardari met with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi during a brief private trip. It was the first visit to India by a Pakistani head of state in seven years.
Indian sporting authorities also recently announced the resumption of bilateral cricket tournaments with Pakistan. The sport has often been used as a platform to ease relations.
But tensions remain close to the surface. This month, New Delhi alleged that “elements” in Pakistan were using social-networking sites to stir religious unrest in India amid ethnic clashes between Muslim migrants and native tribal groups in the northeastern state of Assam.